The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the state government has concluded plans to launch the Edo Oil Palm Initiative, with the state’s donation of 51 hectares of land to kickstart the scheme.
He stated this at a one-day workshop with the theme ‘Growing the Oil Palm Sector in Edo,’ organised by the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO) and the Sustainable Trade Initiative for stakeholders in the oil palm sector in Edo State, in Benin City.
The governor, who was represented by his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Agriculture, Bashir Kadiri, said the state government is ready to support inclusive growth of oil palm businesses, which informed the provision of 51 hectares of land to attract investors who have completed paperwork to invest in the initiative.
He noted, “Edo State Government is determined to promote oil palm businesses. We will be launching the Edo Oil Palm Initiative in the third week of December as we have made 51 hectares of land available for the takeoff of the programme. Investors are already on the ground to invest in the sector.
“Our focus as an administration is to change the narrative in the oil sector in Nigeria. We are committed to driving agriculture development in the state. Edo historically is one of the foremost drivers of the oil palm sector in Nigeria.”
“Oil palm price globally is far above the crude oil price. It points to the fact that oil palm is the way to go as the nation has the potential to take advantage of the sector to rejig the economy,” he added.
The Senior Programme Manager of Sustainable Trade Initiative, Dr. Chris Okafor said the National Initiative for Sustainable and Climate Smart Oil Palm Smallholder (NISCOPS) is a national programme supported by the Dutch Government.
He said the programme has been held in six states, including Enugu, Akwa-Ibom, Cross Rivers, Kogi, Imo and Edo State, adding, “We are working with the Edo State Government and other states to see how to transform the oil palm sector with an emphasis on smallholder farmers who constitute about 80 percent of the oil palm businesses in Nigeria.
“The programme is to see how to increase production in a sustainable manner without destroying the environment and ensuring the inclusion of smallholder farmers. We are here to add value to what Edo State Government is doing.”
The Head, Edo State Investment Promotion Office, Kelvin Uwaibi said the focus of the parley is on how to grow the oil palm sector in Edo State, adding, “The Governor believes that oil palm can be the mainstay in terms of economic development. Edo has already started developing the Edo State oil palm initiative.”